Psalm_24

Scripture  
 
Psalm 24:1-2
 
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
 
Observation-What does it say?  
 
This is a Psalm of David.  It was possibly written as a processional song for when the Ark was first carried into Jerusalem.  It begs the question of who is worthy to be in the presence of God.  If it weren’t for the covenant that God made with his people and the eventual sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, no one would be.  
 
Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
The other day, as I was getting ready for work, I began to feel overwhelmed with the week to come.
I began to think about some of the other stressors that accompany my job, the jockeying and striving for recognition, the constant pull to fit in, as well as making sure I do my job within the policies laid out for me (even the ones I don’t agree with).  In a rare moment of clarity, I knew I needed to lean on God’s strength instead of my own.  I stopped my family and prayed for peace and strength for the upcoming week.  

After praying, I was able to reflect on some of my past failures.  Or at least what I took as failures.  Jobs that I applied and didn’t get, auxiliary assignments that I was denied, and transfers that did not go through.  As I was doing this, I was also listening to a sermon pod-cast, and encountered what I like to call God’s sense of humor.  The pastor was speaking about Paul during one of his missionary trips.  In Acts 16:6-10, we encounter the story of Paul trying, and being denied by the spirit, to go to Asia and Bithynia to share the good news of Jesus.  However, he then received a very clear message from God to go to Macedonia, which was the first missionary journey into Europe.  This was the jumping point for Paul to go to Rome.

The pastor aptly pointed out that, often times, a “no” from God will lead to an even bigger “YES!”  On that day, God showed me His peace by shedding light on the fact that he is ultimately in control.  When I trust in His wisdom, he will ultimately guide me to what His will is.  So when I look back on my “failures,” I can see the “no’s” that I was hearing as God leading me to a bigger yes.

 
Life Application
 
Jesus help me to trust in you everyday.  As you taught the disciples how to pray, “Your kingdom come, and Your will be done,” let me learn to pray this earnestly.  Help me to trust that you have plans for me to prosper, as you tell me in Jeremiah 29:11.  I know that if I seek to bring You glory, You will work things out for good (Romans 8:28).
 
-Tyler Galloway


Psalm_23

Scripture 

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Observation – What does it say?
David paints one of the most beautiful pictures of God.  In the same way that a good shepherd cares for his sheep – leading and guiding and providing and protecting -God cares for his people. This opening statement sums up the entire Psalm. All the following verses unpack this declaration, listing the ways God supplies every need. 
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
Those who follow Jesus lack nothing. Complaining is easy.
 
It takes no effort to imagine the ways we wish things were different or better, to wish we had more money, more joy, more influence, more ________.  While we may perceive a lack, it’s only an illusion.
 
Consider these verses:
Ephesians 1:3 [God] has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
 
Ephesians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
 
2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
 
We who follow Jesus lack nothing! 
 
That means right now…
  • We have all we need to fulfill the plan of God for our lives
  • We have all we need to overcome sin and temptation
  • We have all we need to impact the lives of those around us for God
  • We have all the strength we need to face our present challenges
  • Any need we can imagine, God will supply
Life Application
Stop focusing on what we think we lack and thank God for supplying all we need! 
Stop waiting for God to give us something else before we obey him. 
 
– Levi Thompson


Psalm_22

Scripture
 
Psalms‬ ‭22:2-5‬ ‭
 
“Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
David writes this psalm in the midst of being under constant attack from his surrounding enemies. He is constantly crying out to God for help, but he is getting no response. David finds comfort remembering how much he already has overcome because of God. David remembers how his ancestors trusted God, and God rescued them. David trusts that God is holy and just. David stands on God’s promises to His people, knowing of God’s unfailing love.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
In God we trust.
 
David was being put through a crucible in life. He was under constant scrutiny and attacks. His life was in constant danger. David called out to God for help, but it seemed God didn’t answer. What was David’s response? He trusted God. He remembered all the things God had gotten him and his people through. He is anticipating God’s mighty hand to rescue him once more. David vows to God that he and his people will praise His name for generations to come because of His faithfulness.
 
How many of us have been in David’s shoes? We feel life closing in on us. We feel that God isn’t hearing our cries for help. How do we respond? Do we turn our backs to God? Do we have the attitude of “Fine, I’ll do it myself!”? Or do we respond the way David did?..(Trusting in God’s goodness and holiness). We must understand that God has a reason behind everything. We may not understand it, but we must trust in Him, and know that He is good. God may be using that situation to strengthen you/your faith, and using it to reveal His strength, power, and unfailing love when it’s all said and done.
 
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭
 
Life Application
 
Stand firm in God’s promises and seek Him during life’s storms.
 
How can I know God’s promises for me? I must continue to read and study His Word (SOUL Journal). How can I seek Him during those difficult times? By spending time with Him in prayer and worship (PB&J-Prayer, Bible reading, and Journaling). Being a Christ Follower doesn’t exclude me from life’s hardships (look at David’s life). But I am encouraged knowing that God hears our cries and is always faithful to those who constantly seek Him. 😊 
 
-Moses Gaddi


Luke__18

Scripture

Luke 18:18-30 NIV

“A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.””

Observation-What does it say?

We cannot be confident in our own righteousness. In this story with the rich young ruler, he was exalting himself to Jesus—basically he tried to base salvation on his good works, but Jesus did something He is always good at…He exposed his heart. In this same chapter was the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector. The Pharisee was confident in his own righteousness and looked down on the tax collector. He was exalting himself in his prayer to the King of kings. The tax collector however, exalted The King of kings in his prayer by understanding who he was in relation to God.

Understanding-What does it mean?

The Lord’s love towards us is not dependent upon our works. If it was, the Cross and Resurrection would be null and void.

Pastor Gary spoke last Sunday about how God gave him a picture of His love for him (and us) through his dog Harley. Basically, through his illustration, His love is not based on our title, what we did wrong or right that day, what mood we are in, etc. He also used Naomi (in the book of Ruth) to show that even though Naomi was bitter with Him, God never turned His back on her and worked through Ruth to restore her faith in Him. 

Even when the Pharisees mocked, flogged and killed Jesus and the people consented to it; even when His disciples and best friends turned their backs on Him, Jesus still loved them and you and I so much that He continued with His mission in order to have relationship with us. 

Thinking about His love for me (us) always leads me to WANT to live my life for Him. 

Life Application

Our good works are dependant on how dependent we are on our Good and Perfect King. 

Pastor Levi once said that we are who we are only by association. It is so true. All of our gifts, talents, abilities, wisdom, and good choices are a fruit of our relationship with Jesus. 

Let’s continue to put Him first through prayer, Bible reading, journaling, application, staying close to the family of Christ and loving and serving others for His glory!

-Michelle Gaddi



Luke_17

Scripture

Luke 17:20-21

20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.*”

* The foot note reads “Or is within you”

Observation

A lot packed into a single chapter, Luke 17 covers: the importance of not causing others to stumble, forgiveness against others who may sin against us, the power of faith, remaining humble and the healing of 10 men with leprosy, only one of which returns to give thanks.

Understanding

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

-1 Corinthians 4:20 (NIV) 

A while back, we read “When Heaven Invades Earth” by Bill Johnson as part of one of our DSU courses.  It turned my idea of heaven on its head…talking about how we are the conduits to bring heaven down.  But in order to do so, we must live in power – the power of the living God and His kingdom living INSIDE of us. 

And how do we do that?  We’ve got to fill ourselves up from the source.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…

– Matthew 6:33

Life Application

As we go into the “holiday season,” it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle, bustle, shuffle of getting everything done – only X days til Christmas, the need/desire to close out 2018 with a laundry list of things you’d hoped to accomplish, or already preparing for the new year.  There are tons of things that can steal our attention away from our source, and not necessarily even bad things…but may we orient our days, orient this season to the one from whom all good things come.  Also, may we look for opportunities to be the conduit through which Heaven invades Earth…with the destruction our state has faced over these last few weeks, there’s likely many hearts searching and needing healing – which only God can truly provide. 

God, fill me to overflowing.  May I seek you first daily, not allowing the distractions to steal away what belongs to you and what you deserve.  Keep my eyes open to share your love with others; and may I operate in boldness as I do. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

PS If anyone wants to read/reread “Heaven Invades Earth” with me, I’m setting out to complete it before we head to India at the end of December.  Hit me up, would love to have opportunity to discuss it with someone…or multiple someones. 🙂

 To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Psalm_19

Scripture  
 
Psalm 19:8-9
 
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.  The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.  The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
 
Observation-What does it say?  
 
This Psalm is written by David, the king of Israel and a man after God’s heart. It expresses how he sees God’s glory in the universe, without the need for words.  He then expresses his love for God’s law- pure and clean, bringing joy and enlightenment.  David confesses of his own need of protection from and forgiveness of sins.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
I heard it said recently in a discussion of God’s laws and ways (and I’m paraphrasing), “God is God, and if he wants it done that way, that is the way it’s done.
It doesn’t matter if he wants me to stand on my head to worship him, that is what He wants and I’m going to do it.”  Sometimes there are times and events that don’t seem to make sense, or that God is not present with us.  But His wisdom is higher than my wisdom, and His ways are greater than my ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

In light of tragedies where family, friends, children, colleagues are taken without explanation, there can be a lot of reactions.  I am angry at the unexplained motives behind the actions at the Borderline that took a co-worker of mine.  But ultimately I must lay down my will and respond to the will of my heavenly Father.

 
Life Application
 
Jesus, teach me to pray as you did. Not my will but yours be done.  And teach me to love as you did.  For you gave your life for all the sins of all mankind, no matter what they have done.  I trust that your plan is actively playing out.  
 
-Tyler Galloway


Psalm_18

Scripture

Psalm 18:49
Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;     
I will sing the praises of your name.
 
Observation – What does it say?
King Saul, threatened by David, gathered an army with him and pursued David to kill him. David cried out to God, and God delivered him. And in response, he lifted up his voice in worship to God. He sang a spontaneous song of his love for God, recounting all God had done for him. And at the end of this song he declares that his response to what God has done for him would be to praise him, not just in private but for all the world to hear.
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
Don’t keep your praise private. The natural response to encountering the saving love of God is to praise him for it. But for David, it wasn’t enough to praise God in private. He wanted the world to know.
 
The demon possessed man in the region of the Gadarenes had an encounter with Jesus and was delivered. Afterward, Jesus told him to go home and tell his family what God did for him. But this man, so overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement, didn’t just go home. He went all throughout 10 cities telling everyone he experienced! 
 
Life Application
Tell others about what God has done.
When I first was saved, I was so excited about what God had done. It was so fresh and recent, and I couldn’t keep it to myself. I told everyone! I’d be sharing with my seat-mate in the plane about it before we even took off. I’d share with every person I could, no hesitation. I longed for everyone to experience the love of God I had just experienced!
 
I still long for the same, but today I felt challenged that I don’t often share as quickly or with the same excitement as I did at first. Reflecting on all God has done for me, I choose to stir myself up and praise him to everyone in my life! 
 
 
– Levi Thompson


Luke_14

Scripture
 
Luke‬ ‭14:5-6‬ ‭NLT
 
“Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” Again they could not answer.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
One Sabbath day, Jesus was having dinner at the home of one of the Pharisees. During this time, there was a man whose arms and legs were swollen. Jesus asked the Pharisees if the law permitted healing on the Sabbath. The Pharisees refused to answer the question. So Jesus touched and healed the man and sent the man on his way. Then Jesus basically asks the Pharisees if they saw someone in need of help, would they ignore them just because it was the Sabbath? Again the Pharisees has no response.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
It’s all about God not us.
 
The Pharisees were real rule sticklers. They believed in order for them to become closer to God they needed to jump through these “spiritual hoops” or cross off certain things from their “spiritual checklist” in order to be holy. These Pharisees were supposed to be educated on God’s Word, know about all the prophecies about the Messiah, and truly know God’s character. Yet little did they know the Messiah, God in the flesh, had been living amongst them, right under their noses, all this time. They lost sight of God’s calling for them. To love thy neighbors, to love God with all their hearts, and to truly understand God’s character and His love for people. It became more about showing others how holy and righteous THEY were (by following these rules), rather than showing others how holy, righteous, and awesome GOD is. And that is what I believe Jesus was trying to show them here. Whether it was through helping or healing people, no matter what day it was, Jesus always glorified His Father in Heaven. God received all the glory for everything Jesus did. Jesus understood that one of the ways He can share the glory of God’s love to people, is by helping them. Shouldn’t I do the same?
 
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭
 
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:31‬ ‬‬
 
Life Application
 
Share God’s love with someone in need today.
 
Father God, give me the heart you have for the lost. Give me your eyes to see them. Give me the courage and strength to follow through with obedience when your Holy Spirit directs me. May the work I do not bring light to me, but You. May the people around me catch a glimpse of You because of it. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Luke__13

Scripture

Luke 13:10-17 NIV

“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.”

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus healed on the Sabbath and made the religious leaders extremely angry (indignant) as He was to only work 6 days and rest on the Sabbath. Jesus rebuked them, called them hypocrites and used the example of them untying the ox to allow it to drink water. What more should we untie a person from their bondage to Satan in order to be free to receive the Living Water on the Sabbath?

Understanding-What does it mean?

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. (Matthew 12:8, Luke 6:5)

In Scripture, Jesus healed and allowed His disciples to pick grain for food on the Sabbath. Why? Because He was Lord over that day. Basically, they were already with the One who we are to honor on the Sabbath. The One who gave them their true soul and spirit rest was physically with them. 

Another example was with fasting. Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast and John’s disciples questioned that. Jesus basically replied that they didn’t need to fast when the bridegroom was with them. The purpose of fasting was not to observe the law, but to draw closer to the Lord and they were already with Him! He did say that the time will come when they will fast though.

“Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.” Matthew 9:14-15 NIV

Life Application 

We must observe the Sabbath, just like we must fast; however, legalism has no place in these practices. It is about drawing near to and finding spirit and soul rest with Jesus.

My Sabbath day is on Wednesday. I do my best to protect it, but there have been situations where it has had to be cut short and I’ve had to modify or switch my day. For example, a couple of my Sabbath days, my kids were sick with fevers and have had to stay home from school. I didn’t say, “too bad, I’m not working today so you need to go to school.” I take care of them and help nurse them back to health. 

There have also been a couple of times where the plumber has had to come to our home on my Sabbath day due to backed up pipes in our kitchen sink that could have caused sewage water flooding in our home. That’s an emergency and of course I made sure the work got done! I didn’t say, “too bad, it’s Sabbath. I’ll just let my home flood.”

Also, if a family member or church member was hospitalized and possibly on their death bed, I wouldn’t hesitate to head over to the hospital to pray over them. I wouldn’t say, “sorry, it’s my Sabbath. Ask someone else to do it.”

There are many situations that can wait until the next day to attend to, after our Sabbath; however, there are some situations that cannot wait and are exceptions to rule. We MUST protect our Sabbath day, just like we must pray and fast and just like we don’t commit murder or adultery or covet or lie because it’s part of God’s commandments. However, when God came to earth as Jesus, the heart behind all these commands and the standards changed (i.e. looking lustfully is adultery and being angry/unforgiving with a brother or sister is murder),  where its no longer about legalism, but Jesus. Remember what Paul said in Philippians 3?

“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:3-14 NIV

Amen Apostle Paul!

-Michelle Gaddi



Joshua_9

Scripture

Joshua 9:14

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. 

Observation

The “fame of the Lord” [love that, by the way] had reached far and wide.  It was well known that Joshua and Israel were blessed in many ways to include battle.  Many came together to fight (and lose) against the Israelites, but the people of Gibeon took a different approach.  In fear of their lives, they made it look as though they came from a long way off – not neighbors from the land that God had given the Israelites through Moses – seeking a peace treaty with them.  They played it up well with cracking and repairing their wine skins, patching up their sandals, using dry and moldy bread.  While they looked the part, they were still questioned “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?” (verse 7).  [Perhaps this was the process with anyone who came before them…or maybe it was the Holy Spirit nudge or that “gut feeling” that something wasn’t quite right.].

Of course, when questioned, they lied – calling out the “fame of the Lord” as the reason they’ve come – pointing out all the props and how their condition was due to the “very long journey” they had made to get there…bringing us to verse 14.

Understanding

It’s ever so slight; in fact, I missed it the first time I read through it. 

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.

They checked the physical evidence, but didn’t go to God.  They relied on their own senses, their own findings, their own determination…but did not seek counsel.  And, it’s easy to see why – the sight test seemed obvious.  Perhaps we’d make the same decision in those circumstances.  But…things aren’t always as they appear.

Life Application

Seek the counsel of God and His people. 

Good news is, God is 24/7/365.  There’s not a moment that we can’t “reach” him.  In our day to day and, ESPECIALLY when we are carrying out His calling, we should seek His guidance, His direction…even in the small, mundane or obvious.  He will guide each step. 

Thank you for your availability, your overwhelming love and your willingness to provide us DAILY guidance.  Help me to seek it out, to listen to the Holy Spirit nudge and ACT in accordance.

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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